Last Minute D14 Bear Hunting Questions

jakel

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Hi guys!
First post on the forum but I've been lurking for many years. I'm from Redlands, but I'm stationed at Fort Meade in MD. My family and I will be going home for the holidays and I'd like to catch the very end of the black bear season. Planning D14 since it's close to home and I can spend time with my folks during the evenings. Originally, I'd planned on taking the wife up to Carmel and going after some pigs with my buddy up there but he will be out of town.

I've never hunted D14 before( I always hunt D12 with friends from Blythe when I take leave for an extended period of time), but I've hiked and fished a lot of it growing up. I've seen bears, but not in areas that I think you can hunt in(Vivian Creek Trail, Bear Creek, Big Bear, Silverwood, Forest Falls, Oak Glen).

SOOO, does anyone have any suggestions?
I know it's been a dry year; any special considerations?
Are predator calls worth a try?

I'm not afraid to hike hard. Steep, rugged is fine. I'll bust brush; I don't care. I have good glass, I can shoot distance if I have to. I'll bone and pack out if needed. My friends from Blythe said they'd come help me glass, track etc(they went 3 for 3(for the 2nd year in a row) in D12 this year and have no extra freezer room.)if I need them.

Now, I don't expect anyone to give me their secret spots. I know how much effort goes into scouting. I'm just asking for more general areas. I know my chances are slim, but I'll hunt hard; who knows...
Thank you in advance
Jake

Last thing, I've heard(true or not I have no idea) that there are areas in thee foothills that are bow/shotgun/muzzleloader only. Is this the case? I could bring any of these out with me if I had to...
 
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Wild1

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I got D-14 bear this year, but I had scouted for over two months before the season opened. Although I killed mine with a bow, your chances are a lot better with a rifle. I would head up to the San Gorgonio Wilderness area with a good pair of binoculars, find a ridge line and glass, glass, glass. Not sure how much snow is up there right now, but go prepared - start early and stay late (right before dark). There's a lot of bears up there, but it takes a lot of effort and patience. Good luck.
 

jakel

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Thank you Wild1. I will be bringing good bino's and a spotting scope.
I definitely understand that I hamstrung myself by not scouting preseason. Unfortunately, it just wasn't feasible this year.
The upside of having to pay for full price tickets for my kids is that they each get 2 bags which means I won't be limited in the amount of gear I want to bring.
 

jakel

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Wild1,
Do you have an elevation range that you'd recommend this time of year? From what I've seen, it hasn't gotten too cold for an extended period of time yet; I assume there's a correlation between cold temps and bear heading down lower? Also, how much do you think the recent rains have made up for the dry year?
 

Wild1

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We did get a lot of rain, but not nearly enough to make up for the drought - but I think that'll be irrelevant to your hunt. If anything it might make your hunt more challenging because there's a lot more water sources now. Hunters kept complaining about the lack of water recently, but that just made my hunt a bit easier (if that's possible), because I just kept looking for water, and I knew if I found water, I'd find bear sign….it worked. I'd agree with you on the cold temps, but I haven't hunted bears enough in low temps to be an authority on it, I start scouting in June and do most of my hunting during the archery season, at the end of August.

I still think you (or anyone) has a good chance to score a bear if you hunt hard and smart. Not a lot of people in the mountains this time of year, so the bears have a tendency to feel comfortable in places where they normally wouldn't (established trails). Go for it!!
 

jakel

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Roger that. Hopefully that's the case that they're out and about a bit more this late in the season. I'll likely get some half day hunts earlier next week where I can do some quick hiking and look for sign. If I find some, I'll focus in those areas. If not, I'll head for the wilderness area Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Might even camp out instead of hiking in and out each day(I know that it'll be pretty cold; I don't care). Hopefully I'll connect, but if not, it won't be for lack of trying!
 

Wild1

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If you prepare and have the right clothes, the temps won't bother you. Not sure what you plan on wearing, but I hunt in cold temps during late season deer and it can be brutal outside - I layer up with merino wool and it's not an issue. You can always wear mickie/bunny boots and your feet will never be cold. Good luck and keep us posted.
 

jakel

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Yes, I'm good on cold weather gear. Almost all First Lite merino. I have some seriously warm stuff for hunting in stands here in Maryland, but it's way too bulky for moving around much. I've found that many layers of thinner wool is best for being active and I can shed/add layers as I go from hiking to glassing. Having some hand/pocketwarmers has been plenty if I need to augment. It's only going to be in the 20's at night and first thing in the morning; I'll be fine.
Thank you again.
I will keep updating once we get out there and I get a chance to strap on my pack. I'll do my best to take a lot of pictures also.
 
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Wild1

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Sounds like you're set, I have a pair of expedition First Lite (merino wool) long underwear - awesome. One thing though, just a thought - the bears in our local mountains (probably like bears everywhere), will not tolerate any movement at all. You'll have your best chance(s) if you find a spot, and besides glassing, staying perfectly still. Takes a lot of patience and discipline, which will also result in possibly being very cold, but you'll get your bear. Hope you have a good backpack (for the extra clothes and the pack out)! Looking forward to the pictures!
 

jakel

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Noted. And yes,I have some decent packs. Firm believer in Eberlestocks. I'll have a Blue Widow for the full days and a Mini Me w/ a bird bag for the short trips. I've packed deer with both.
Thanks again, Wild1.
 


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